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Marine Ecology Research Centre

Dr Sander Scheffers

PhD, University of Amsterdam, 6th of Sept. 2005: 'Benthic-Pelagic coupling in Coral Reefs'
MSc, University of Amsterdam: 'Large scale ecological patterns in Coral Reefs'

Research Summary

Dr Sander ScheffersCoral reefs are extremely sensitive to the threats of global climate change and local degradation from human activity. Many reefs (e.g. Caribbean) have already crossed critical ecological thresholds. Even the Great Barrier Reef, commonly regarded as the world's best managed coral reef system, is in decline from the combination of ongoing human impacts, such as land-based pollution, and in an increased frequency and severity of coral bleaching. Rapidly rising levels of atmospheric CO2 levels is causing global warming as well as perturbing the oceans carbonate chemistry in a process known as 'ocean acidification'. These local environmental and the now inevitable impacts of global climate change are assessed using long-term geochemical records from fossil and modern coral cores.

Taking coral core samplesMy group, together with collaborators Prof Malcolm McCulloch (UWA), Prof Jian-xin Zhao (UQ), Dr. Thomas Felis (University of Bremen, is using these long-term coral records from e.g. Caribbean, Thailand, GBR, Ningaloo to distinguish long-term natural variability from more recent anthropogenic impacts that are now affecting coral reefs and their marine environment.

The past is a window into the future. In reconstructing past environments we can more Taking reef core samplesaccurately predict future trajectories of ecosystems. Specifically, historical analyses are an essential tool for understanding the current state of coral reefs, how they got to that state, and for devising a strategy for their restoration. With our experience of palaeo-environments in coral reef ecosystems of the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific / Australasian regions, we will be able to provide a valuable contribution to discussions on accuracy and uncertainties of longer-term data needed in sound decision-making.

Selected Publications (2007-Present)

Book (in press)

Scheffers A, Scheffers SR, Kelletat D (2011). The Coastlines of the World with Google Earth- Understanding our Environment. Series: Coastal Research Library, Vol. 2. Springer Oceanography . ISBN 978-94-007-0737-5

Articles in Press

Brill D, Breckner H, Scheffers A, Jankaew K, Kelletat D, Scheffers SR. (2011): Potential predecessors of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami - sedimentary evidence of extreme wave events at Ban Bang Sak, SW Thailand. Sedimentary Geology

Scheffers A, Engel M, Scheffers SR, Squire P, Kelletat D(2011): Beach Ridge Systems Archives for Holocene Coastal Events? Progress in Physical Geography


Giry C, Felis T, Koelling M, Scholz D, Fensterer C, Lohmann G, Wei W, Scheffers SR. 2011. Mid to late Holocene changes in tropical Atlantic temperature seasonality and inter-annual to multi-decadal variability documented in southern Caribbean coral Sr/Ca records. Earth & Planetary Science Letters

Scheffers A, Scheffers SR, Kelletat D, Squire, P, Collins, L, Feng Y, Zhao JX, Johannes-Boyau R, Schellmann G, Freeman H (2011): Coarse clast beach ridge sequences as suitable archives for the science of palaeotempestology? Case Study on the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Book Chapters

Engel, M., Breckner, H., Kelletat, D., Schebitz, F., Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., Vett, A., Wille, M. & Willershuser, T., 2008. Reading the chapter of extreme wave events in nearshore geo-bio-archives of Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles) - initial results. In: 26th Annual Meeting Working Group Geography of Oceans and Coasts, Marburg (Germany), Marburger Geographische Schriften, 145: 101 - 117.

Refereed Journal Articles

Sommer, B., Harrison, P.L., Brooks, L., Scheffers, S.R., 2011. Coral Community Decline at Bonaire, Southern Caribbean. Bulletin of Marine Science. Fast Track publication 01/01/3011. DOI: 10.5343/bms.2010.1046

Scheffers, S.R., Van Soest, R.W.M., Nieuwland, G., Bak, R.P.M., 2010. Coral Reef Framework Cavities: Is Functional Similarity Reflected in Composition oft he Cryptic Macrofaunal Community? Atoll Research Bulletin. 583: 1-24.

Giry, C., Felis, T., Koelling, M., Scheffers, S.R., 2010. Geochemistry and skeletal structure of Diploria strigosa, implications for coral-based climate reconstruction. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 298: 378-387

Sommer, B., Harrison, P.L., Scheffers, S.R., 2010. Aggressive colonial ascidian impacting upon coral reefs at Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Coral Reefs, 29 (1): 245

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., Squire, P., 2010. Trimlines as Evidence for Palaeo-Tsunamis. Natural Hazards. pp. 1-15. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-010-9691-6.

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., Kelletat, D., 2010. Reply to: Wave-emplaced coarse debris and megaclasts in Ireland and Scotland: storm waves or tsunamis? By A. M. Hall, J. D. Hansom and D. M. Williams. Journal of Geology. 118: 705-709

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., Kelletat, D. and Haslett, S., 2010. Coastal Boulder Deposits at Galway Bay and the Aran Islands, Western Ireland. Annals of Geomorphology, 54 (3): 247-279.

Pignatelli, C., Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., and Mastronuzzi, G., 2010. Evaluation of tsunami flooding from geomorphological evidence in Bonaire (Netherland Antilles). Annals of Geomorphology, 54 (3): 219 - 249.

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., Kelletat, D., 2009. Wave emplaced coarse debris and mega-clasts in Ireland and Scotland: a contribution to the question of boulder transport in the littoral environment. Journal of Geology 117 (5): 553-573

Scheffers, S.R., Scheffers, A., Browne, T. & Haviser, J., 2008. Tsunamis and hurricanes and their effects on coral reefs and pre-historic human populations. Quaternary International 195: 69- 87. (doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2008.07.016l)

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., Kelletat, D., Abbott, D. & Bryant, E., 2008. Chevrons - Enigmatic Sedimentary Coastal Features. Annals of Geomorphology 52 (3): 216-241. (doi 10.1127/0372-8854/2008)

Scheffers, A., Kelletat, D., Vett, A., May, M. and Scheffers, S.R., 2008. Late Holocene tsunami traces on the western and southern coastlines of the Peloponnesus (Greece). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 269: 271-279. (doi.10.1016/j.epsl.2008.02.021)

Scheffers, S.R., Scheffers, A., Kelletat, D. and Bryant, E. 2008. The Paleo-Tsunami History of West Australia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 270: 137-146. (doi.10.1016/j.epsl.2008.03.027)

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., 2007. First significant tsunami evidence from historical times in western Crete (Greece). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 259 (3-4): 613-624.

Kelletat, D., Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., 2007. Field Signatures of the SE-Asian Mega-Tsunami along the West Coast of Thailand compared to Holocene Paleo-Tsunami from the Atlantic Region. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 164 (2/3): 413-431.

Scheffers, S.R., Scheffers, A., Kelletat, D., Radtke, U., Staben, K. & Bak, R.P.M., 2006. Tsunami trigger long-lasting phase-shifts in coral reef ecosystem. Annals of Geomorphology, NF Suppl.-Vol. 146: 59-79.

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., 2006. Documentation of the Impact of Hurricane Ivan on the Coastline of Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles). Journal of Coastal Research, 22(6): 1437-1450

Van Duyl, F.C., Scheffers, S.R., Driscoll, M., Thomas, F.I.M., 2006. The effect of water exchange on bacterioplankton depletion and inorganic nutrient dynamics in coral reef cavities. Coral Reefs 25: 23-36

Kelletat, D., Scheffers, S.R., Scheffers, A., 2006. Learning from the SE-Asian Tsunami: Examples from Thailand's West Coast. International Journal of Earth Science 2 (1): 4-9.

Refereed Conference Papers

Giry. C., Felis, T., Scheffers, S.R., Scholtz, D., 2010. Assessing the potential of Southern Caribbean corals for paleotemperature reconstruction. IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environmental Science 9 012021. DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/9/1/012021

Giry, C., Felis, T., Scheffers, S.R., Scholz, D., Mangini, A., Fensterer, C., 2009. Temperature and hydrologic variability in the Holocene documented in corals from the Southern Caribbean Sea. PAGES 1st Young Scientists Meeting, Corvallis, USA

Bryant, E., Haslett, S., Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S.R., Kelletat, D., 2008. Tsunami Chronology supporting Late Holocene Impacts. Int. Conf. "100 years since Tunguska phenomenon: Past, present and future".